Design studies views design as a poetic and pragmatic means of shaping the conditions for pursuing social justice, environmental sustainability, and general well-being and pleasure. This minor situates design at the intersection of the humanities and the social sciences by drawing on fields such as philosophy, anthropology, sociology, literature, and the sciences, encouraging students to see design as both reflecting and shaping social values and policies.

    The Design Studies minor is offered through Parsons' School of Art and Design History and Theory and requires successful completion of 18 credits across six subject areas, as outlined in the chart below.

    Note: Course availability may vary from semester to semester. Some courses may be in development and offered at a later time. Students seeking to pursue alternative coursework to fulfill the minor should consult with their advisors.


    A student who has completed this minor should be able to demonstrate:

    • Competence in thinking, speaking, and writing clearly and effectively and communicating with precision, cogency, and rhetorical force.
    • A strong knowledge of the tools and techniques of scholarship. Active research and the writing of analytical and critical essays should continue throughout the program.
    • An understanding of the evolution of changing perspectives on, and theories of, design in the 20th and early 21st centuries.
    • An understanding of the various research methodologies that are employed in design studies, ranging from direct observation to interviews to literature reviews.
    • Ability to competently articulate an understanding of the cultural issues having to do with gender, race, sustainment, and ethics that bear on design studies.
    • An understanding of the relevance of fields related to design studies, e.g., material culture, philosophy, anthropology, and sociology.
    • Ability to competently articulate various design disciplines and practices, from object oriented to system based to community driven, that inform current design studies.


    Subject Area Course Options Requirements
    Design History 3 credits
    Methodology 3 credits
    • Students should select a course or courses from within the PLDS course subject code at the 2000 level.
    3 credits
    3000-level 3 credits
    • Students should select a course or courses from within the PLDS course subject code at the 4000 level.
    3 credits
    Studio Practice
    • Students should select a studio course appropriate to their studio skill and experience. Qualifying courses can be found within subject codes beginning PSxx or PUxx.
    3 credits


    Minors are available to all undergraduate students at The New School, though some minors are closed to students in certain majors (please see the list of preclusions for more details). Students may declare minors outside of their own colleges. To explore this option, contact your academic advisor.

    For questions regarding this minor’s curriculum, including requests for course substitutions, please contact Caroline Dionne, assistant professor, at